On the 30th of January 1972, 13 men and boys were ahot and killed in the city of Derry when British military forces clashed with a march against internment. A 14th man later died of his wounds and 17 other people, including 2 women, were badly injured. The day would go down in history as Bloody Sunday.
15,000 people set out on the afternoon of Bloody Sunday to engage in a civil rights march. Gurantees had been given that both the IRA and the Provisional IRA would stay out of the march, so those involved were confident that the day would be a peaceful one. A number of blocakes had been set up by the British army to keep the marchers out of certain areas. One such blockade, known as Barrier 14, was set up to keep the marchers from entering the city. As a number of younger marchers approached Barrier 14, a riot broke out, though not unlike those that were typical of the time.
On William Street, which was some distance away from the Barrier 14 riot, the British Army opened fire on the crowds. 2 men were hit, with 1 dying instantly and the other dying at a later date from his injuries. The British Army then moved on to Rossville Street, where they opened fire once again. A further 18 people were killed or injured by shots and vehicles. Some were even shot in the back as they ran to safety. Others were shot whilst trying to help the wounded.
The British Army then advanced into Glenfada Park, a quiet cul de sac. Another 11 people were killed or injured by the persistent shooting.
The aftermath of Bloody Sunday is still felt today, with gunmen being put on trial as recently as 2019. At the time, the gunmen claimed that they had been acting in self defence, and even went so far as to plant a nail bomb on one of the fallen victims. This false version of events was accepted by the British Governement for 38 years until further inquiries proved that the truth was far darker than the fiction which they had been fed.
As the dead were laid to rest, the Republic of Ireland engaged in a national day of mourning. On the same day, the British Embassy in Dublin was burned to the ground. Thousands attended the funerals to pay their respects and mourn what has become known as one of the most tragic days in Irish history.